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What Slump? Rhodes Erupts with Pick, Big Plays


2008 Week 10 - Jets vs Rams Photos

Kerry Rhodes kept his cool this season while fans and media clamored to see him execute his signature super-athletic turnovers. He answered the call today in the Jets' 47-3 rout of the St. Louis Rams with one fumble recovery, a tipped pass that led to a Hank Poteat interception, and an interception of his own — his first of the season.

"Oh, man, it felt like I had a fat gorilla-ape on my back and everybody kept making it a bigger deal each and every week," said Rhodes. "The fact that I was able to get it today was a good thing for us. It helped us get a win today, so that's the main thing.

"It's kind of like a hitter that's in a slump. If he keeps concentrating on getting a hit, he doesn't get it. But when he just goes out and swings the bat like he's been taught, he gets the hit."

Kerry and the Jets defense got hit after hit today, forcing four of the Rams' five turnovers in the first half. On a Calvin Pace fumble recovery, the linebacker ran the ball back 50 yards for the D's fourth touchdown of the season.

"I think we're going in the right direction," said Rhodes. "The momentum from last week, we didn't want that game to not mean anything to us, so we wanted to come back out and get better and this week it was pretty good out there."

"It was great," linebacker Eric Barton said of Rhodes' performance. "Kerry is an extension of Coach out there. He gets guys lined up when things are going bad. He is one of our leaders. It is great to see him make plays. He is a great player."

Rhodes stressed the importance of players and coaches sharing the same vision.

"I think we're on the same page with the coaches and that's a big thing in this league," he said. "You can't have players out there worried about what coaches are going to call and if it's going to be the right thing we want to do. But I think the coaches see what we're about and we see what they're about, so it's been good."

"We played a complete game," Rhodes said. "We talk about this all the time, playing a complete game and being able to finish. They came out, third quarter, drove the ball — we made them kick three. After that, we got a big stand down on the 2-yard line where they didn't get any points — we got a turnover.

"So it's just a maturation process we're going through, defense-wise, for sure. We've been able to stop the run for a while and now the DBs and the passing game are coming around, so if we play this well it's going to be pretty tough."

The defense is going to need that toughness as the focus turns to the New England Patriots, whom they'll face at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., in a mere four days. But Rhodes said the Jets' performance today game won't be their source of confidence Thursday.

"We're a confident team anyway," he said. "It just makes this game coming up just a little more excitable. From the outside looking in, it's going to be a game where people are looking at this game where we're both first in the division. It's a game where it can come a long way to determine what happens down the stretch. So it's going to be a good game."

Rhodes recently received praise from Brett Favre, who called him the quarterback of the defense. And it seems his teammates agree.

"Man, Kerry is a great leader," said fellow safety Abram Elam. "He just had to be patient. Teams are not going to attack Kerry because they know he's a good player and he steps up and makes plays when opportunities come. So the challenge is on the other guys in the secondary to step up, because we know teams are going to try to stay away from Kerry.

"And when they don't, Kerry will make them pay."

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